Theatre, Society, and Stigma: Mental Illness on Stage

By Persephone Sextou and Dr. Paul Patterson.

Published by The International Journal of Social, Political and Community Agendas in the Arts

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: October 10, 2014 $US5.00

The paper describes an approach to theatre as an educational intervention in society linking the artist, the psychiatrist, and social groups with an interest in mental illness. An exploration of narratives and diagnostic criteria from psychiatric case studies led to the creation of two dramatic monologues focusing on awareness and impact of bipolar disorder on intimate personal relationships, particularly on the evolving transactional roles between the partner/caregiver and partner/patient. The paper argues that devised performance based on themes and characters that emerge from within the field of psychiatry may be used to address perceptions of mental illness and stigma for general community audiences. It concludes that psychiatrically informed material can be successfully translated into original dramatic performances to address current educational and social issues and raise social awareness in thought-provoking and stimulating ways to members of the public.

Keywords: Devised Theatre, Mental Illness, Stigma

The International Journal of Social, Political and Community Agendas in the Arts, Volume 9, Issue 1, December 2014, pp.1-10. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: October 10, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 594.385KB)).

Dr. Persephone Sextou

Senior Lecturer, Drama, Newman University, Birmingham, West Midlands, UK

Dr. Paul Patterson

Public Health Research Programme Manager, Youthspace, NHS Trust, Birmingham, West Midlands, UK